- Saryu Rai disappointed in not seeing name on BJP list of candidates
- Mr Rai is likely to contest against Jharkhand Chief Minister
- He may contest against his colleague from Jamshedpur East
Longtime BJP leader and Jharkhand minister Saryu Roy is disappointed in not seeing his name on the party's fourth list of candidates for the five-phase assembly election that starts on November 30. Mr Roy, 68, indicated he may contest against his colleague and Chief Minister Raghubar Das from Jamshedpur East.
Sources said the BJP won't give a ticket to Mr Roy over his consistent "anti-party" behaviour that has apparently upset the leadership, including party president Amit Shah.
Mr Roy on Saturday wished the opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's (JMM) chief ministerial candidate Hemant Soren a "bright future", a move that was seen as trying to evoke a reaction from his own party.
Following a long wait for a ticket, Mr Roy has now dropped in a request to the BJP not to consider his candidature for the state election with just two days left for filing nominations.
Mr Roy has been credited with sending two former chief ministers to jail. He is known for exposing corruption in Bihar that is now known as the fodder scam, in which Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Yadav is one of the most high-profile convicts. The BJP leader is also instrumental in digging up wrongdoings by former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda in allocation of coal block in the mineral-rich state.
Mr Roy is upset with the BJP for welcoming into the party an accused in a Rs 130-crore medicine procurement scam that broke out under Madhu Koda's government between 2006 and 2008.
Bhanu Pratap Sahi, who was named in a chargesheet into the medicine scam, was also given a BJP ticket. What angered Mr Roy was Chief Minister Raghubar Das kicking off Mr Sahi's campaign from Bhawanathpur seat.
"After the meeting in Delhi where the names of the candidates were finalised, I was told by several leaders who were present at the meeting that besides other things, Mr Shah didn't like my friendship with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar," Mr Roy told NDTV.
Sources said Mr Shah mentioned that Mr Roy invited the Bihar Chief Minister to his book release event in December 2017, but there was already an NDA government in the state.
It was Mr Roy who came out openly to defend Nitish Kumar when some BJP leaders - before the Bihar chief minister returned to the NDA in 2017 - demanded that he should also be tried in the fodder scam. Mr Roy had said there was no case against Nitish Kumar.
The BJP leaders had then accused Mr Roy of shielding Nitish Kumar despite being instrumental in exposing several scams since the 1980s.
With the BJP giving a ticket to Mr Sahi and amid Mr Roy's revolt, the opposition in Jharkhand is likely to increase their attack on the ruling party.